Students in Canadian classrooms are so widely diverse. Here are a few facts displaying the
diversity in the classroom.
29-32% of the population will be members of visible minority groups.
Participation is religions other than Christianity has doubled since 2006.
Approximately 1 in 9 children in Canada lives in poverty.
Children’s families are diverse. Some are living with a mom and a dad, but others with two
moms, two dads, grandparents, or other relatives.
This amount of diversity can present challenges to schools and communities, but it also presents
lots of opportunity.
In the past, wealth and social status have been major factors in children’s success levels.
Several studies have been done to prove that teachers do have an impact students lives.
According to researchers, “The association between the quality of early teacher-child relationships
and later school performance can be both strong and persistent”. This was observed in a study that
observed the same children all through elementary school.
A more recent study that observed children for 4 and a half years found that the degree of
emotional warmth of the teacher-child interactions and the teacher’s degree of skill in recognizing
and responding to children’s needs consistently predicted the child’s growth in reading and
Based on these results, it appears that students who have significant behaviour problems in the
early years are less likely to have problems later in school if their teachers are sensitive to their
needs and provide frequent, consistent feedback.
Effective teachers who establish positive relationships with their students appear to be a powerful
force in those students’ lives.
Teacher Preparation and Quality:
Linda Darling-Hammond, a researcher at Stanford examined the ways in which teacher
qualifications are related to student achievement.
Her findings indicated that the quality of teachers- as measured by whether the teachers were fully
certified and earned a major in their teaching field- was related to student performance.
Measures of teacher preparation and certification were by far the strongest predictors of student
achievement in reading and mathematics, both before and after controlling for student poverty and
English language proficiency.
This is all evidence that more qualified teachers make a difference in student learning.
What is good teaching?
Different classroom situations are looked at:
a) A multilingual grade 1 class: Half of the class has English as a second language. A teacher, with
the help of an ESL teacher make modifications to the curriculum that enable students who speak
English as a second language to participate in all the activities in the classroom. The teachers
found that using visual materials was very useful. The teacher also made use of peer tutors
whenever this was possible, and offered one-on-one instruction to students who needed it. o The teacher also encourages students and their parents to continue talking, reading, and
writing in their first language at home. As well, she fosters an appreciation for diverse
languages and cultures in her classroom by celebrating multicultural holidays and by
having students compare and contrast their home or community experiences and practices
during classroom discussions and sharing times.
b) A suburban Grade 6 class: Students in the class have varying racial, ethnic, family income, and
language backgrounds. The teacher is emphasizing “process writing”. The students create a first
draft, revise, edit and publish their work. These students keep daily personal journals and they
use them to communicate with their teacher. They tell their teacher about problems at home,
fights and fears, and he always takes the time to respond to them in writing. This teacher is very
interested in the social and emotional development of his students.
c) An Advanced Math Class: When the teachers class was confused about a lesson on integrals, he
did a review class. He asked the class for general statements about useful strategies for doing
integrals. He clarified their suggestions, elaborated on some, and helped students improve
others. He wrote the key points on the board and by the end of the period the